A joint statement issued here on Monday has slammed the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for “depriving the farmers of their legitimate property rights”.
According to the statement, the Centre did not wait even for a parliamentary approval and brought in an ordinance to drastically change ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’.
The joint statement was issued by former Manipur governor Gurbachan Jagat, senior journalist Gobind Thukral, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) director general Prof Sucha Singh Gill, Panjab University academics Professors BS Brar and Ronki Ram, former Punjab advocates general Rajinder Singh Cheema and Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, senior high court advocates Joginder Singh Toor, Manjit Singh Khera and Roshan Lal Batta and the Asian Times, Edmonton, Canada, editor P Kalia.
The statement said the government, led by Narendra Modi, in order to please the industrialist lobby hurriedly threw away, without discussion, a progressive land acquisition legislation that had replaced the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894.
It said that the draconian land law had troubled people, especially farmers, leading to endless agitation, litigation and even police firings. There are thousands of cases pending in courts across the country since Independence.
According to the statement, a new deal was promised some 30 years ago and the law was also said to be in the making for that long. The new Act that came into existence only in January last year after much agitation and coaxing was supported by all parties. The BJP (National Democratic Alliance) was a party to the passing of this Act. How fast the BJP had changed its position after coming to power showed its true colours, it said.
“We demand that the government acquire land for industry and other public purposes under such legal provisions that the fundamental rights of landowners are protected, and adequate compensation in full measure is ensured. The 2103 Act should remain on the statute. Why should the state use its sovereign powers only to make things easy for industry? An impression is fast gaining ground that the present government is pro-industry and anti-farmer,” the statement said.